European union / EU institutions / Decentralised bodies of the European Union (agencies)

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The continuous improvement of safety and health at work is a key objective of European social and employment policy. However, the range and diversity of the occupational safety and health (OSH) issues that face Europe are beyond the resources and expertise of a single Member State or institution. This is why the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work was formed: to bring together and share the region’s vast pool of knowledge and information on OSH-related issues, particularly good prevention practices.

The Agency acts as a catalyst for developing, analysing and disseminating information that improves occupational safety and health in Europe. As well as developing a comprehensive network of safety and health websites, the Agency also runs campaigns and an active publications programme producing everything from specialist information reports to factsheets and covering a wide variety of OSH problems.

National focal points, typically the lead OSH organisation in their respective countries, coordinate and disseminate information from the Agency within their individual countries. In addition, the Agency cooperates with a wide range of partners including the European Commission, other European institutions and the European social partners, as well as international organisations and safety and health organisations worldwide.

The Agency is managed by a Director and has a Governing Board which is made up of representatives of government, employers and workers from the 25 Member States and representatives of the European Commission. The Governing Board establishes a Bureau.

The legal basis for the Agency's activities are four Council Regulations:

  • 2062/94 
  • 1643/95  (includes 3 new EU Member States in 1995)
  • 1654/2003 (updated the Agency's regulation in accordance with new EU financial and public document access provisions)
  • 1112/2005 (modifications to the Agency's government and management structures)

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